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Old 04-21-2010, 03:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
OctaneHugo
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: philadelphia
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Default Any Major Dude Will Tell You: A Dizzying Travel Through the Steely Dan Discography

Steely Dan are an odd band. They toured only once at a time when most major rock bands were hitting every city they could find, it seems like just about everybody played for them (as 'them' refers to two guys from Jersey after the second album) at one point or another and they never receive too much attention. They've toured quite a bit in the past 15 years - worldwide, to boot! - and they've released two albums of entirely new material over the past 10, but nobody ever mentions them in bands that changed the way they listened to music, or inspired them. Oh, sure, there's a dedicated following, but they're a lot less vocal than, say, fans of David Bowie or those who adore Billy Joel. Strange for a band with plenty of critical AND commercial success; eight of their nine studio albums are certified at least Gold.

But perhaps this is fitting, since the two musical geniuses who are the band were never really at the forefront of anything, either, even though they are a band. It's been acknowledged by the band themselves: one Genius didn't play much lead guitar on that first run in the '70's because he's a nervous person; he simply wanted to play bass in the background. A second vocalist recorded two songs on the debut album and sang every song during the early stages of touring because the other Genius suffered from incredible stage fright; he wanted nothing more than to sit behind his keyboard and stare at it for two hours of showtime.

Both are perfectionists: this is very well documented. One album was deemed unlistenable by both of them due to faulty equipment; both casuals and audiophiles alike agree there is nothing wrong with any of the recordings.

Their lyrics make obscure, odd references to people, places and things; so much so that an entire site has been written by one fan to enlighten everyone on what the hell a "baion" is.

They use odd time signatures and have a large, rotating group of session musicians backing them up: maybe it's just to throw everyone off, keep the audience on their toes.

In the end, of course, none of this matters and none of it is written in a negative manner, meant to insult or defame anyone or anything. The music is wonderful, the lyrics thick with symbolism and meaning, and here it is with great pleasure that I provide reviews of every album in the Steely Dan discography. And, much like the band, who knows what will happen: maybe there will be some surprises? Join me under the banyan tree near my a-frame and sip a black cow; let's chase the dragon together.

INDEX
Can't Buy a Thrill (1972) - PART 1 PART 2
Countdown to Ecstasy (1973) - PART 1 PART 2 PART 3
Pretzel Logic (1974) - UNREVIEWED
Katy Lied (1975) - UNREVIEWED
The Royal Scam (1976) - UNREVIEWED
Aja (1977) - UNREVIEWED
Gaucho (1980) - UNREVIEWED
Two Against Nature (2000) - UNREVIEWED
Everything Must Go (2003) - UNREVIEWED

To break my (hopefully) eclectic mix of formal-yet-informal style, I'm going to set some groundwork on the reviews here:

-I dislike number ratings; they're too arbitrary and one person's 8 is another person's 6 which is another's 9. They're convenient, but inaccurate and, usually, a pretty piss-poor way to go about things. I'll whip something up to make everything a bit less daunting, but I do endorse actually reading the reviews I'll be shaming myself with, so we'll see where the road takes us.

-I don't have an update schedule, as I don't feel I need one. And even if I DID establish one, I'd just be terrible at following it and all 3 people who like Steely Dan would be angry (I hope). I'll get these out with some amount of regularity and when it's done it's done.

-Try to avoid going for +1 post count and comment both on the possible accuracy of the reviews and the quality of what I'm writing.

And that's that. A review of Can't Buy a Thrill will be out sometime before Saturday. I don't know when I want to post it yet. See you then.
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Last edited by OctaneHugo; 05-08-2010 at 06:45 AM.
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